Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McDowell

Marc McDowell

Executive Chef, Makena Beach & Golf Resort

Since his appointment as Makena Beach & Golf Resort's Executive Chef in October 2010, Chef Marc McDowell has revolutionized the resort's culinary program, with creative menu development, providing expert direction and training to the resort's culinary team, and overseeing food production in the resort's four restaurants and catering department.

Trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Chef McDowell has a background in French cooking, specializing in a fusion of exotic herbs and spices with fresh Hawaiian ingredients to create new flavor profiles for the palette. His professional experience includes senior culinary positions at the Grand Wailea Resort, Maui and most recently as the Executive Sous Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua, Maui.

Chef McDowell's passions for foods that are fresh and wholesome have inspired at Makena a new focus on seasonal offerings that are served in their peak window of freshness. In addition, since his arrival, the kitchens at Makena have baked their own breads and make their own sauces, stocks, soups and salad dressings due to his classic “made-from-scratch” approach to food preparation. “I want the Makena food experience to be beautiful and delicious,” says McDowell, “Not only do I want our guest to experience favorable and quality food but I want to develop my culinary staff's sensibilities to fresh ingredients, fresh flavors, and a fresh outlook on cooking. My mantra is “Fresh! Fresh! Fresh!”

Chef McDowell is also a Certified Master Gardener having developed a resort herb garden featuring a wide selection of 90 exotic herbs, 100 plus vegetables, and over 8 varieties of butterfly flowers. His plans for Makena also include the addition of an aquaponics garden, a combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). This new sustainable method of farming is being recognized worldwide as an exceedingly viable method of food production.

To top it all off, Chef McDowell also has a passion for garde manger skills and techniques. He delights guests to intricate carved fruit presentations and spectacular ice carvings that can be found at the resort's famed Sunday Brunch. Chef McDowell remains active in the community working with high school students to set up gardens. He hopes to one day have a Farmer's Market right in the resort's parking lot for which these students can sell their locally-grown produce.

Big dreams and ambitious goals keep Chef McDowell constantly engaged with his staff, local farmers and suppliers, restaurant guests and other members of the community. He says, “The opportunity to lead the culinary team has unleashed my creativity and opened new doors to my love for sustainable farm-to-table eating, a love that I hope to inspire in those around me.” And with his infectious can-do attitude, it is hard not to be inspired.

Mr. McDowell can be contacted at 808-875-5850 or mmcdowell@makenaresortmaui.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.